The Moose Jaw chapter of the Idle No More movement held it’s second rally in as many months Monday evening.
“Each and every one of us came together here today for the same cause,” said Jeff Cappo, of the Lone Creek Drum Group, during a teach-in session that was held as part of the rally. “(The cause) that we go home tonight to our home fires, that we look after our old ones, our grandfathers.”
The rally involved two elements: a chilly march from City Hall to the Moose Jaw Public Library, and a teach-in held in one of the library’s meeting rooms.
The march was supported by members of CUPE Saskatchewan, who showed up for the march in large numbers flying union flags.
“CUPE is in full support of Idle No More. It’s a common cause, and we’re really happy to be here,” said Bill Robb, National Education Representative for CUPE Saskatchewan. “A lot of our members at Winter School are supporting this event, and the cause. We need change, and we’re happy to be a part of (the push for) it, and hopefully it will happen throughout the country.”
The objective of the teach-in was to inform people about the Idle No More movement, which rose to national prominence in November, 2012 with the hunger strike of Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario.
Idle No More is targetting a number of pieces of legislation that organizers have said were pushed through without consultation of Canada’s First Nations, in spite of a legal obligation — through treaties — that supporters state compels the government to consult with aboriginal leaders.
Dicky Scholten, a member of the local chapter of Amnesty International, attended the rally and touted it as an opportunity for the uninformed to learn about the movement and the plight of Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples.
“I think it is very educational, especially for the non-Aboriginal people. There are so many misconceptions about the Aboriginal Peoples, and very negative judgments,” Scholten said. “It’s good that people get to know why there are so many problems there ... the people have to hear the truth.”
Education was also the primary focus for Isabelle Hanson, the event’s organizer.
“We are trying to teach people about what’s going on, and it has been a real struggle, because we’re trying to do this in a peaceful way. That’s the way of our people,” she said.
“We are really concerned for the future of our people: our kids, our grandkids, and for all of the generations that are yet unborn,” Hanson added. “So I am very happy that you all turned up here.”